I’d bet good money that New York is experiencing
the same low compliance with its new gun registration law as
Connecticut. But that’s a bet you can’t take unless you have
insider information. While Nutmeg State
officials publicly lament the slow trickle of registration
forms, New York officials refuse to reveal their numbers at
all. To keep their secrets, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s troopers
rely on an odd legal interpretation, with which even the state
official who oversees government transparency strongly disagrees.
Given the unbroken history of failure demonstrated by firearms
registration schemes, and the organized campaign of resistance in
that state, that’s almost certainly because New Yorkers are defying
Journalists and gun rights advocates alike have been spurned in
their efforts to get the state police to disclose registration
Official letters refusing requests all cite a provision of the
SAFE Act that reads:
RECORDS ASSEMBLED OR COLLECTED FOR PURPOSES OF INCLUSION IN THE
DATABASE CREATED PURSUANT TO SECTION 400.02 OF THIS CHAPTER SHALL
NOT BE SUBJECT TO DISCLOSURE PURSUANT TO ARTICLE SIX OF THE PUBLIC
But that provision would seem to ban the disclosure of
personal information about registrants and license
holders, such as names, addresses and specifics about guns owned.
That’s a sensitive issue in the state after the Journal
News, a New York newspaper, published just such information,
leading to burglaries and public controversy. The SAFE Act was
written and passed after that incident, when concerns over public
disclosure were especially high.
legal guidance (PDF) prepared for the state police emphasizes
the privacy of individual records, saying:
The Act was intended to enhance public safety by:
Exempting records relating to the Act from public disclosure and
providing all permit holders and applicants with an opportunity to
ensure that any county records relating to their individual permit
or application will also be exempt from the NY State FOIL
That’s certainly the interpretation of Robert Freeman, executive
director of the state Committee on Open Government. He
Democrat & Chronicle, “If we’re talking about
statistics only, not the actual records that were assembled or
collected, in my opinion they’re public. I don’t know why they
would be reluctant.”
Well…Let’s take a wild guess at why the state might be
reluctant to release registration numbers. New York gun owners
vowed to defy Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pet law. Many
county sheriffs in the state say they won’t enforce it. Some
not only call for the law’s repeal, but refuse to even let their
official seals be associated with its implemantation.
Could it be that compliance is…less than impressive?
Given the widespread opposition to the new gun restrictions, it
would be shocking if New York ever managed the
less compliance-rate that California officials experienced when
they required registration of “assault weapons.” California
promptly confiscated some of the rifles registered under the law,
making gun owners even more skittish now than they were then.
C’mon, New York. Fess up! There are tumbleweeds rolling through
your databases, aren’t there?
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/04/new-york-wont-reveal-how-few-residents-h